Monday, March 26, 2007

GodsReward

Recently, James White blogged about an e-mail he received from an atheist fundamentalist. You should read White’s response by clicking the above—what he said was spot on and thus I have no need to repeat it below.

The person who e-mailed White is apparently the webmaster of www.GodsReward.com. This person (who remains anonymous throughout his website) offers $100,000.00 to anyone who can prove God exists. It’s rather easy to offer rewards when you remain anonymous and thus no one can reach you to win it. At least Randi has his name attached to his million dollar challenged for the supernatural…

But that’s really a side issue. Other side issues include the vast amount of political nonsense this person spouts too. Instead, we are going to look specifically at the way the challenge was stated and the underlying philosophy behind it to demonstrate its fallacious nature.

Firstly, we observe:

Millions of people worldwide are searching for God in their lives. I began searching at five years of age by praying to learn whether God answers prayers. At the age of thirteen I read the entire Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Since then I have read documents of other religions. I have attended services of different religions and spoken with believers of various faiths. In 1996 I began offering a reward for proof God exists. GodsReward expands the offer to reach more people to pursue the first goal to search for God.
This, of course, is written to sound as if this person is an “honest seeker” who wishes to know that God really does exist. Yet we shall quickly see that this is not the case. The first clue is found in the stipulation:

As payer of the reward, I reserve final judgment for acceptability of the proof.
This alone demonstrates that the challenge is bunk. This individual is not demanding proof of the existence of God; he is demanding that we meet whatever standard of “acceptability” he decides to enact at any given time. After all, $100,000.00 is not a trivial sum. In addition to the depravity of natural man, this person has added on the extra financial motivation to never accept anything as proof.

At the very least, an impartial third party ought to be the “final judgment”. But this webmaster is not interested in a valid challenge; he is only interested in scoring “points” with other atheists.

This individual also writes:

The second objective is to defend the individual right to believe as one chooses. In various nations religion is forced upon individuals by inclusion of religious dogma in politics and the law of the land.
The second sentence is written in a negative tone (as the rest of the paragraph bears out—it’s the second paragraph under the “Welcome to the Search for God” header); yet the author is seemingly unaware that he is actually NOT defending “the individual right to believe as one chooses” when one chooses to believe one ought to include “religious dogma in politics and the law of the land.” In short, he only defends the individual rights of those who agree with his position, while claiming a universal defense of rights.

We see that later under “Part II: Reasons Proof God Exists Is Needed.” There we read:

Each individual has the right to personal beliefs.
Firstly, such a statement is absolutely false. It is not the case that each individual has the right to personal beliefs. Just look at any third world country, for example. Or try to be a blogger in China…

So we begin with a factual error. (Note, he did not say that each person ought to have this right; he says each person does have this right.)

But let us assume that each individual does has this right, for the sake of argument. Where did this “right” come from? Presumably, given his “manmade” proof position (see below), these “rights” are nothing more than manmade rights created by different individuals. In which case, the “right” is nothing more than a consensus of various individuals. As such, people only have “the right to personal beliefs” when society allows them this right. If society does not allow them this right, they do not have this right. There is nothing “wrong” with a society who decides that people do not have these rights—it is simply what is.

This is a fundamental human right of utmost importance that deserves respect.
Really? If it is fundamental, then why wasn’t this right codified until the 17th Century? If this is so fundamental, then why isn’t it universal? Why have 99% of societies that have ever existed on this Earth not held to this “fundamental” human right? Indeed, why did it take a bunch of Christian Protestants to get this concept into popular culture?

Secondly, in what way does this right “deserve respect”? This right is just as “manmade” as any other strain of thought, including Nazism. Why does this concept “deserve respect” but not Hitler’s Final Solution?

Even concepts that have been proven by science to be false are within the right of belief of the individual.
Of course this begs the question that “science” is the final arbiter of what is true in the first place. But the truth of science changes on a daily basis. Just a few generations ago, scientists believed in phlogiston and the ether…

Secondly, the right to believe something surly must imply the right to act upon one’s belief. Yet this author has already demonstrated that if you act on the belief that others ought to believe as you do, you’re “wrong.” (The self-contradiction in this concept is impossible to make up!)

Thus, this author claims:

Assertion of God in public policy violates the right of individuals to believe there is no God, or of individuals who believe in other Gods. When unfounded beliefs guide public policy, it violates individual rights.
Yet advocating this violates the rights of those who believe we should assert God in public policy. It violates the individual rights of these individuals to deny them the ability to live as their beliefs would dictate, wouldn’t it?

It should be noted that this self-contradiction destroys the very basis for why this individual demands proof of the existence of God. Naturally, he can still have personal concerns, but his social complaints are based on self-refuting ideology.

This contradiction is only exemplified by his standard of proof. For instance, we read the following under the header “Evidence [For The Existence of God] That Will Not Be Considered”:
Manmade products of any sort will not be considered. … Manmade products include (but are not limited to):

* words, whether spoken, written, sung, or electronically generated
* art, whether painted, sculpted, or crafted by any manmade process
* fabric or other materials manufactured by manmade processes
* architecture
* scientific devices
* humans themselves
* human actions
* etc.

I’m not quite sure how one is supposed to even respond to this individual. After all, any argument that you decide to make for the existence of God entails, at the very least, words that you speak or write. One is left wondering how, exactly, we are supposed to communicate with this individual in the first place if words and even pictures are not allowed!

It also bears pointing out that under such rules, evidence of any historical claim is invalid. Imagine if I asked for proof that Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, but you couldn’t prove it to me using words, art, fabric, architecture, etc. How could you prove it happened? Even if you could demonstrate that an eruption did occur at some point (by, for instance, taking me to the location), that does not prove it happened in 1980!

In fact, with such restraints on what constitutes proof it is impossible to prove anything aside from the fact that this radical skepticism fails miserably.

In short, all this fundamentalist atheist has done is set up a fictional challenge with rigged rules that serves to disprove his own philosophy in the process! This is the type of game you must play, however, when you deny the existence of God.

18 comments:

  1. Peter Pike said: At the very least, an impartial third party ought to be the “final judgment”.

    I laughed so hard after reading that, I just couldn't read the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Anonymous. I should clarify that part :-)

    The impartial third party would only exist to validate whether the terms of the contest were fulfilled. It is not stating that the impartial third party would determine whether God has actually been "proven" since an impartial party on that question would not exist.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter Pompous writes:
    Why have 99% of societies that have ever existed on this Earth not held to this “fundamental” human right?


    Probably for the same reason you pull random statistics out of your arse?


    Indeed, why did it take a bunch of Christian Protestants to get this concept into popular culture?


    Hilarious. Perhaps Peter Piker ought to read a history book?

    It was Christian Protestants who railed against the no establishment clause and fought to insert their god into the Constitution for 100 years after it was ratified.

    Christian theocracies were no different then the Taliban when it came to not allowing freedom of speech, religion or belief.

    Get a clue. Check the 10 commandments...

    BTW...Do you have any proof of existence for your personal fairy godmother?

    No...didn't think so...just a lot of vapid blather.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Martin Luther3/26/2007 5:09 PM

    Moreover, everyone believes at his own risk what he does believe. He must see to it for himself that he believes what is right. A man can no more believe or disbelieve for me than he can go to Hell or to Heaven for me; and he can no more drive me to faith or unbelief than he can open or shut Heaven or Hell for me. Since, then, belief or unbelief is a matter of everyone’s conscience, and since this does not diminish secular power, this power should be satisfied and tend to its own business and let men believe one thing or another, as they are able and willing, and should constrain no one by force. For faith is a voluntary act to which no one can be forced. It is, in fact, a divine act, done in the spirit, certainly not a work which an external power should enforce and create .

    Faith will not force and press anyone to accept the Gospel.... But here you see the pope errs and does wrong when he presumes to drive people by force; for the Lord commanded the disciples to do no more than preach the Gospel. And that is what the disciples did; they preached the Gospel and let him get it who wanted it. They did not say: Believe, or I will kill you .

    To the end of the world men should not mix these two powers [church and state] as was done at the time of the Old Testament among the Jewish people. But they must remain severed and separated from each other if we are to preserve the true Gospel and the true faith..... For all reach for the sword. The Anabaptists, [Thomas] Muenzer, the pope, and all bishops wanted to rule and reign - but not in their calling. That is the wretched devil’s way. ... The devil does all this. He takes no holiday until he has mixed the two swords .

    We should learn to separate spiritual and temporal power from each other as far as Heaven from Earth, for the pope has greatly obscured this matter and has mixed the two powers... .

    ReplyDelete
  5. Peter Pike said:"Thanks Anonymous. I should clarify that part :-)
    The impartial third party would only exist to validate whether the terms of the contest were fulfilled. It is not stating that the impartial third party would determine whether God has actually been "proven" since an impartial party on that question would not exist."

    But that is the contest...PROOF! I would really like to hear your criteria for impartiality. It would seem that the believer, (since no proof was needed for them to believe in the first place, nor is any proof needed to keep them believing) would not be impartial, could not be impartial.
    A non believer is the only obvious choice to be an impartial judge. Because he or she is not convinced as to the existence of a god. If, after hearing the evidence for the claim of proof, the non believer then believes, (becomes a born again Christian for all eternity) the money is then to be awarded. If the non believer remains a non believer, no payment is awarded.
    Sounds simple enough to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The simple point regarding this website is that it is bunk. And the host is, to say the least, a little suspect. Ignore the junk statistics, and concentrate on the facts, and note that here you have another man who is concerned by the threat to secularism.

    The trouble is that if we assert the absolute right of the atheist-secularist to live in a state where no-one who has a faith-based worldview has a part in politics, then we are violating the right of the Christian (or any other religious believer committed to the democratic process) to take part in politics. For me, I prefer Lord Randolph Churchill's maxim: 'Let the people decide.' Provided the rights of all persons to an equal share in the democratic process are maintained, and the rights of conscience respected, then no-one need fear. When any one sect or party decides that its views are the only views, then conflict happens. And this is not helped when people get hysterical about 'theocracy' and what have-you.

    Oh, and the standard of proof is wonderfully high. Short of transporting the unbeliever to the exact place of a personal manifestation of the presence of God, there is no proof, as said gentleman will not accept anything filtered through the medium of a human being, or indeed a picture.

    That brought a wry smile to my lips.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hireath pontificated:

    Oh, and the standard of proof is wonderfully high. Short of transporting the unbeliever to the exact place of a personal manifestation of the presence of God, there is no proof, as said gentleman will not accept anything filtered through the medium of a human being, or indeed a picture.


    Hilarious.

    Why should my standard of proof be any less then the disciple Thomas, who allegedly tramped around ancient Palestine witnessing your mythical savior god doing all kinds of miracles, but wouldn't believe the report of one more, as told to him by another trusted friend?

    Christians are famous for their delusions and their lies...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Something tells me this anonymous poser is the author of the website....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Peter Pike said: Something tells me this anonymous poser is the author of the website....

    What is that "something" that "tells" you this? Do tell!

    ReplyDelete

  10. Something tells me this anonymous poser is the author of the website....

    Like '99%' of the rest of your vapid tripe, you're wrong about that as well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. George's Spectre3/26/2007 8:36 PM

    Or the Anon is George.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi George,

    Welcome back. Did you run out of pimples to pop? Now we'll get to hear some REAL blather from the internet monkey...

    ReplyDelete
  13. George's Spectre said:
    ---
    Or the Anon is George.
    ---

    You mean you can tell the difference??? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anon, laddie, given that this standard of proof excludes:

    'words, whether spoken, written, sung, or electronically generated...'

    I think the description of this as ridiculously high is fair. As was noted, this means that one cannot prove any historical event actually happened.

    Equally, I saw no proof that the person running this site actually has $100,000 to give away. Before even trying, I would need to see the colour of their money. After all, if the boodle isn't there, then it means they fail the test of honest intent.

    In other words, the site is pure bunk.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Of is anonymous really the villainous Monty Bristow, alias 'The Disturber?'

    ReplyDelete
  16. Peter Pike said: You mean you can tell the difference??? :-)


    You mean you can't???

    ReplyDelete
  17. "What is that "something" that "tells" you this? Do tell!"

    It's probably the horrible argumentation and the crybaby attitude that tipped him off.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks Peter!

    ReplyDelete